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11th Sep 2019

10 truly glorious things I did with my time… before having babies

A different world.

Trine Jensen-Burke

Sometimes when I think about how I used to spend my time prior to having children, I actually have to laugh a little.

Wow. Life was tough back then. Like; talk about stressful.


Now, looking back, days before having kids just stretched out like glorious little units of time, ready to be filled with whatever I actually wanted to do.

Disclaimer: Clearly I wasn’t a total lady of leisure, as in I did have a job and other commitments like the odd yoga class and work events. It’s just that in between this, my time was beautifully and amazingly my own.


Now, in my post-child life, when I struggle to take a shower without an audience and eat dinner with one hand while also combing Barbie hair, I marvel at all the things I had time to do before. I really should have appreciated my freedom more (yeah, yeah, the wisdom that comes with hindsight and all that…)

But seriously; here are some of the things I filled my hours of free time with before I had children (that I now just simply can no longer do):

1. Doing my nails and actually sitting still until the paint was dry

This I have just kind of given up on nowadays, as I barely get time to sit long enough to even pee when I have to use the bathroom, never mind watch paint dry. Literally.


2. Ironing

Gosh, when I think about how perfectly un-creased my wardrobe was back in the day…

3. Hand wash delicate (and really expensive) items of clothing

He-llo. Who has time to do this when there are children trying to rub peanut butter into every sofa cushion in the next room?! Also, who has the inclination to spend money on cashmere jumpers and Myla underwear when you know they will get covered in snots and sticky fingermarks?

4. Spray tanning myself and walking around in my underwear, not touching anything until my body was dry and perfectly bronzed

Now? Now I stay pale and at least avoid intrusive questions about why mummy is putting brown cream on, and toddler looking like he has a skin disorder by the time the recommended hours of drying were complete.

“Don’t throw yourself off the coffee table today, honey, mummy is drying her skin”…This. Just. Doesn’t. Fly.


5. Face masks and hair masks

Is there any point if you have to fight off your two-year-old trying to lick the mask off your face because he thinks it is yogurt?

6. Deciding last minute to go see a movie

Now getting to the cinema requires about the same amount of planning as your average sized wedding, and needs to be scheduled in at least eight weeks in advance.

7. Listening to music while getting dressed and made up for a night out

Oh, how I used to LOVE this. The careful application of make-up. The hair-curling. The trying on of seven different outfits before picking the perfect one… Now? The only soundtrack I got going on these days is the Absolute Disney Princess – being screamed out by a toddler (who happens to LOVE princesses) – as he marches in circles, tearing open and slamming shut presses over and over and over and over again until my brain is on the verge of explosion. Mascara and lipgloss. DONE.

8. Sleeping

God, remember sleeping, guys?! Actually sleeping until you woke by yourself (or at least from an alarm clock and not somebody shouting about how much they want cheerios…)


9. Organising the clothes in my wardrobe by colour and occasion

One time, I actually spend TWO DAYS OF MY LIFE switching all my clothes from wooden to black flocked hangers, carefully placing everything back by category and colour. Now? Now, I’m like, “why do we have all these hangers? The laundry baskets hold all the clothes just fine, and it looks great.” Wrinkles? What wrinkles?!

10. Grocery shopping as a leisure activity

I used to make lists based on what I planned on cooking, what vegetables were in season, whatever food fad I was currently into, as in; grocery shopping was a totally laid-back, luxurious me-time. Which makes it a stark contrast to what grocery shopping looks like these days, when I, in between trying to look for the list I know I wrote on the back of my VISA bill and chasing my two-year-old around Tesco after he escaped, literally end up just flinging things randomly into the shopping trolley while mentally promising myself a large glass of wine later – if I survive the shopping, that is.

There is no denying time and how we spend it looks a little different after kids than it does before. But then again, there is no amount of time and tan and face masks and music listening in the world that can compare to the snuggles and the giggles and the joyful exhaustion I now have in my life. You lose some, you win some!